Monday, 24 March 2014

Plant swapping - long distance

It was Helene over at Graphicality-UK that first brought Green Plant Swap website to my attention when she posted about it last year.  In theory, it is a great idea.  Its a gardening website where you can buy, sell or swap plants.  Open to both professionals and amateurs, it could I suppose, be a great resource for new plants.  I say 'could' but not for negative reasons.  Currently there are very few members in my area that have plants listed, therefore had to look a bit further afield.  I've no doubt this will change given time, I'll just have to wait a bit longer.  There are also quite a few nurseries listing their plants, I don't do my plant shopping online though, therefore doubt I'd use their services unless it was for something really special. 

We've all exchanged plants with friends and family - I know I have.  Green Plant Swap is really just an extension of this practice.  Swapping plants with members needn't be done on a local level either, as Helene and I have just proved.  Whether you live in John O'Groats or Land's End - there are no rules to say you can't swap plants!  Providing you and the person you've arranged to swap with come to an understanding/arrangement, nothing could be simpler. 

Our long distance swap began when Helene expressed an interest in starting a new Heuchera collection.  I knew I had some cuttings and others that were in need of splitting.  A quick message via the site and the ball was rolling, so to speak!  Helene kindly offered me a couple of cuttings from her beloved climbing rose - Rosa Crimson Cascade.  We decided to wait until springtime to arrange delivery.

The package was posted in London by Helene on the Monday and I received it here in Edinburgh on the Thursday morning.  It had arrived safe and sound.  The Hermes courier delivers to my house regularly enough to know I have a safe place for him to pop the parcels in if I'm not yet up!

Here it is, exactly as it was when it left London 3 days previous.  Helene's labels had done their job!

Helene had used sacking to pack right to the top of the box, good idea.  This would ensure no movement of the contents.


Remove the sacking and as you can see everything is tightly packed.  I couldn't wait to get my mitts in there.  Especially as 2 of the plants were completely new to me.


The Roses came out first, just look at the healthy roots!  Once I had a better idea of the size, I was able to organise appropriate pots.  I was not quite ready to plant these out, had I been there would have been no issue with putting them direct into the ground.  The weather forecast was good, therefore I had no need to worry if they'd be affected by the drop in temperature between here and London.  In a normal year, this may not have been the case! 


The others all came in their own pots, complete with labels. All I had to do was unwrap.  Of course taking care not to damage the plants in my excitement. 





So what did I get:

2 x bare root Rosa ‘Crimson Cascade’

2 x Arisaema amurense (babies)

2 x Arisarum proboscideum, several plants in each pot

1 x Lamium galeobdolon ‘Hermann's Pride’

Here they all are - Their first introduction to Scotland was by way of a good long drink of our exceptionally good water!  As you can see they are all extremely health and unlike Helene, I did not find any stowaways.
  

They've yet to get a permanent home in the garden.  They'll be perfectly happy in the pots until I'm ready for them.  The packaging was saved and would be reused when I send Helene her plants the following Monday.  It suits Helene that packages are mailed on a Monday, that way you are almost guaranteed that they will be delivered the following few days, regardless of the carrier.


I did not take some shots of the plants as I was packing them to send south.  Most of the plants were sent bare root.  Using damp kitchen paper to keep the roots moist and wrapped in freezer bags to keep the water in.  I then cut open cardboard cylinders (aka loo roll holders) and wrap around the root system for a bit of protection.  You can see here on Helene's blog just what I mean.  Sending plants bare root reduced weight and therefore shipping costs.  Of course not all plants would be suitable for sending that way but the majority of perennials will survive just fine.

I did not use the same carrier as Helene, I used Royal Mail.  They were posted at work on Monday night and received by Helene the following day.

Swapping plants is a cost effective way of adding to the plants you grow in your garden.  It could also be a way of getting that elusive plant you are after for a while.  It could also be a way to try plants you ordinarily wouldn't think to try or had not heard of before.  Both the Arisaema and Arisaram are new plants to me, in fact, I knew nothing about them other than what I had read on Helene's blogs previously and would probably passed them by in a GC, mind you, I don't think I've ever seen these plants for sale here locally.  It could also be a great way to get rid of those impulse buys, you know the ones I mean!  You've bought a plant, got it home and after weeks of deliberating on just where you are going to grow it you find out it's just not suitable or not what you really wanted.  I know I've one or two candidates that fall into that category.  It needn't be limited to plants either - I've seen many growers offer seeds for swapping.  I know many of you grow from seed.  It might be worth a wee look just for something different!

I needn't tell you just how exciting it is to receive new plants, even better for the fact it has cost very little.  The Roses alone would have cost me in excess of £20.  It's a win/win situation in so far as I can see!

All that is left for me to say is thank you Helene for the plants and introducing me to Green Plant Swap.  I will be looking forward to seeing my plants and yours growing in our respective gardens.

30 comments:

  1. What a fantastic idea! Well done to Helene for wrapping those plants so carefully and to you for saving the wrapping. I have a long wish list of plants and am a huge fan of propagating. This may be just what I need. Thank you for showing how it is done well.

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    1. Might prove useful, especially as you enjoy propagating Sarah. Good luck on finding what you want.

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  2. It's a really good idea and your new plants look lovely. Enjoy!

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  3. This is a great idea - thanks for blogging about it. Will go and look at their site. I'm very impressed with Helene's careful packing.

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    1. Worth joining - especially if there are lots of growers near you Gwenfar.

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  4. Hi Angie, I read already Helene's post about your plant swap. I think that is just such an awesome thing to do! Besides that it is very cost effective, to me it would be most exciting to know that I would grow plants in my own garden now that have grown in another blogger's garden and that I only have seen at his or her garden blog images. Sooo... cool! Hope Helene's plant settle in nicely for you, she certainly packaged them well. Wishing you a nice week!
    Christina

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    1. Yes, I saw your post on Helene's blog Christina. I has been great to see these plants in Helene's garden, I just hope I don't kill them!

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  5. Hello Angie, so great to see the plants looking nice and healthy standing in your garden! You know, sending off plants like that is a bit like sending off your children to live on their own - you really want to, but in a way there are still your babies :-)
    I am so looking forward to seeing them all on photos in the years to come, can’t wait to see the roses in full flush. You will get some roses this year, but next year they will look amazing – ‘Crimson Cascade’ is one of the earliest in my garden every spring.

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    1. I don't do very much propagating at the moment Helene and I'm sure when I start on a bigger scale, I will feel exactly the same.
      You would not believe just how much growth the Rose has put on up to now.

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  6. What a wonderful way to share your plants. I am looking forward to see photo's of your new plants when they are planted in your garden.
    Have a wonderful day Angie.

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    1. And I look forward to sharing them with you all Marijke :)

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  7. I do like that idea and will certainly be taking a look. It always grieves me, when clearing out my borders, the new plants I discard - as seedlings or divisions - and I often consider starting my own nursery! Now they could have a second life. Thank you for your blog!

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    1. I'm sure you would find this sight very useful then. Good luck if you do take part. I hope you get some nice plants in return :)

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  8. What a splendid idea! Sadly it doesn't exist at least not on the postal way, but we have plant fairs organized by garden groups where you can swap and it's certainly a wise thing.

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    1. Annette, due to the hours I work, I am unable to going garden groups, which is a shame, as I'd like too so this is the next best thing I can find.

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  9. Interesting as I read Helene's side of the story this week too.

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    1. Thanks Sue, I've since found out that they have started a sort of forum, could also prove useful.

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  10. It's a great idea locally but if you were to cross international boundaries, some Agricultural agencies could have a problem with it.

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  11. Nothing beats 'happy post'!!

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  12. Oh now that sounds like an interesting concept Angie. Thanks for telling us about it. I've swapped plants for years and have also sold them at our local Country Market and our gardening club plant sale but do not feel confident about wrapping plants up to post them. Will explore further though. Enjoy your new plants which I hope cope with their move to colder climes :)

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  13. Several bloggers from our area have been getting together for plant swaps in the spring and fall. This just takes that concept up a notch. What a fine idea.

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  14. What an interesting idea. It is much simpler than you would think. As mentioned above though, you could not send plant to North America without a Phytosanitary Certificate and they are a pain to get. But within a country, it is an excellent idea, especially if you live in a remote area as I do.

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  15. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will certainly look into it. What a great idea. I have posted things to a friend in England before without any problem. Mind you for things to survive in my garden they can't be too delicate!

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  16. This is such an interesting idea. I've swopped plants for years with neighbours (so on a local scale) but being part of a wider network of gardeners like this really appeals. Your plants look ready to thrive in their new home!

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  17. This is a great idea, and I need to check with some long-distance friends to do some swapping. ;-) I do exchange with several local friends, and it's wonderful because I think of them now whenever I see their plants. Thanks for all the great tips for packaging up the plants!

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  18. That's a great idea on sending them bare rooted. I usually swap plants just between friends and never even though of a plant swap by post.

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  19. When I was cut to half time about 4 yrs ago I was going to start something like this. But maybe I can do a bit of swapping with bloggers that are within a few hours....you have rekindled the bug in me to do this as I know I will have lots of plants to divide.

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  20. Angie, Helene and yourself are showing perfect examples of how this works. I will pay special attention on how your Roses perform, they certainly are well rooted.

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  21. I like your blog about planting. In gardening many tools helps farmers. Get Gardening Equipment for Sale UK in most affordable price.

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